Does Chocolate Affect Sleep?

Yes, eating chocolate right before going to bed may interfere with your sleep and can cause disruption with your sleep pattern. Amount of caffeine is a major contributor in this regard. The more the caffeine content is, the more are the chances of disruption in sleep. 

As we all know that chocolate has some active ingredients like theobromine, caffeine and tryptophan. It is likely to have an effect on sleep. It also has sugar in it which can also increase the chances of insomnia after ingestion.

Find and buy healthy chocolate options that are both delicious and beneficial for your health.

Now, let’s go into depth about these certain reasons for not eating chocolate in abundance during night hours.

Reasons of insomnia because of chocolate

The 3 main active ingredients contributing to sleeplessness are as follows:

  1. Caffeine
  2. Theobromine
  3. Sugars

1. Caffeine

We all are well aware about caffeine and its usage. This active ingredient in chocolate has a potential to affect the central nervous system directly and it can make your brain awake till late. Caffeine is present in all types of chocolates but it is high in dark chocolate. Eating a dark chocolate bar late at night can make your sleep disturbed. This caffeine content in very high amounts is an enemy of good night’s rest.

Savoring a few squares of chocolate can contribute even less caffeine than a cup of coffee. But consumption of these bars late at night is still not advisable.

2. Theobromine

Theobromine is also an important active stimulant in chocolates. Just like caffeine it is also present in higher content in dark chocolates than white ones.

Although, theobromine doesn’t have a direct effect on your brain functioning, still it has some role to play in insomnia. This chemical is believed to interfere with cardiovascular activities. It can increase heart rate and may cause restlessness which may lead to sleeplessness at night.

There are some new studies about theobromine that shows that this chemical can also work as a muscle relaxant and can help to some extent in sleep.

3. Sugars

The third contributor which can lead to insomnia is sugar present in chocolates. It also works as a stimulant for insomnia and can keep you alert at night.

Sugars may not affect the sleep of all people in the same way but it can have some possible reasons to cause insomnia.

Sugars are believed to increase inflammation in the body leading to restlessness and poor sleep.

High intake of sugars can cause depletion of Magnesium in the body which is a major contributor in sleep. They are also believed to make you hungrier after sometime. Feeling hungry again till late at night can also make insomnia worse.

Difference between chocolates 

The chocolate selection is all up to you. If you are fond of eating chocolate at night you must monitor the amount of active ingredients before eating that sweet bar.

Dark chocolates have highest caffeine and theobromine content while less sugars.

White chocolates have less theobromine and caffeine but more sugars and fats. Milk chocolates have moderate amounts of all ingredients.

So, it’s all up to you to select the type of chocolate you are going to eat or whether to decide to completely cut off chocolates at night for a better sleep.

Difference between people

You must remember that only the types of chocolates you are going to select is not the main point. Different people can react differently towards each type of ingredient in chocolates. Some people may notice symptoms of insomnia after eating chocolates at night while others may experience less or no symptoms at all.

Some people can also feel anxiety after eating chocolate because of the caffeine content present in it.

If you are a person who wants to lose weight and you like dark chocolates as your sweet snack, you must try to have this chocolate on an empty stomach or just after 30 minutes of a solid meal.

Should you avoid chocolate completely at night?

There is nothing wrong with eating chocolate. The problem is all about consuming too much chocolate and at late night hours.

There is no need to cut chocolate entirely from diet instead you can follow some simple instructions to eat it in the right way which are as follows:

  • Limit chocolate consumption at reasonable amounts during nights
  • Try to have this snack as early as possible after your last meal
  • Try to limit other caffeine sources along with chocolates like coffee
  • Avoid chocolates that are too high in sugars and too high in caffeine

You must try to eat chocolate at least 2 hours before going to bed. It will give the ingredients proper time to metabolize easily before sleep.

Chocolate eating as a stress reliever

Many people are taking chocolates and other sugary snacks as a stress reliever for them. Dopamine is a chemical released in your brain after eating chocolate and lowers your level of stress. These people are craving more for chocolates in conditions of stress. But this stress relieving snack can also make some people disturbed and awake till late at night.

So, try to find some other source of stress relieving instead of eating bars of chocolates till late at night.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Is chocolate higher in caffeine than coffee?

Generally, a cup of brewing coffee has more caffeine than chocolate. But it also depends on the type of chocolate. The darker the chocolate the more caffeine content it has. A very dark chocolate can contain more caffeine than a single shot of espresso.

Why do I crave chocolate at midnight?

Mostly it depends on your eating patterns in the day time. Chocolate craving at night is often linked to low magnesium levels in the body. You might be having some insufficient fats or calories in your body which chocolate can provide you instantly at that time.

What to eat instead of chocolate when craving at night?

Chocolate craving at night means that you need a snack that can satisfy your hunger adequately. Look for a snack that can satisfy your appetite for a longer period of time like yogurt, boiled eggs, peanuts, protein bars etc.

What to do to stop binging on chocolate at night?

You can beat your chocolate craving by filling up your stomach with the foods that are not going to make you hungry soon. Try to eat foods in the afternoon and early evenings that are low in sugars and high in proteins. Try to make a good and healthy dinner meal plan for you having the maximum of protein and minimum of fats and sugars.

Now it’s your turn…

Now, it’s time for you to decide the type of chocolate and the time of chocolate according to the reaction it may cause on your sleep. Go ahead and do research about this. Try to observe your body reaction after eating a particular chocolate. You can better observe the symptoms of eating chocolate late at night. 

If you feel that it’s not having any worse effects on your sleep, you may continue to eat it at your preferred time. But if you think that it’s having a major contribution to your sleep patterns, better try to reschedule your time of eating chocolate.

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From chocolate craving to winter hot cocoa drinks indulgence - I've being through it all. In as much as I'm always learning about the awesomeness of cacao/cocoa beans, there's one thing I know for sure. Quality cocoa product always comes tops. The devil is in the details. That's why you should listen to me. I've done the research. I've made all the mistakes in the books. Yes, I'm just like you but I know a thing or two that can help you make a better choice.